Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle remembers THAT Watford goal as he celebrates 50-year association with Spurs

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HE is one of the most talented midfielders English football has ever produced and his career highlights reel is pure gold.

Two incredible volleys for Tottenham against Nottingham Forest and Manchester United in 1979, a 20-yard stunner on his England debut that year, an FA Cup final winner in 1982 and two World Cup campaigns.

Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle reveals fans still talk to him about his famous goal against Watford
SWNS:South West News Service
Hoddle, 60, won the Uefa Cup, and two FA Cups with Spurs in his career
SWNS:South West News Service

Yet Glenn Hoddle says there is only one moment people ever want to ask him about.

It is a moment of magic he produced at Watford on September 24, 1983, which, in days when televised football was limited, still lives in the memories of those who saw it on Match of the Day.

He tricked defender Jan Lohman with his first touch — a cheeky flick and turn in one movement — before floating the ball over keeper Steve Sherwood with his second, an inch-perfect chip.

And as Tottenham prepare to travel to Watford again tomorrow, Hoddle spoke at length for the first time about the majestic goal which inspired them to a 3-2 First Division win that day.

Hoddle bamboozled Ducth midfielder Jan Lohman with an exquisite first touch after receiving the ball from Gary Brooke
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He said: “From taxi drivers to virtually anyone I happen to bump in to, they ask me about that Watford goal.

“In fact, I was on holiday this summer on the little Greek island of Santorini, just walking down the street and someone came up to me wanting to talk about that Watford goal!

“Someone told me it was 35 years ago and I can hardly believe it!

“But while I’ve got a few favourite goals over my career, such as the volleys against Manchester United and Nottingham Forest, the Watford goal is certainly right up there with the best.

“It was very much born out of instinct. It came right out of the blue, nothing like I had ever practised on the training ground or even thought was possible.

“It started with a bit of skill, a sort of half Johan Cruyff turn and then an angled chip over the keeper to the far post.

“I got that chip off to a tee. I dug it out and put a lot of back spin on it, which enabled it to hover in the air. I just wish I could play golf like it!

“Garry Brooke played the ball into me at pace and, to this day, I don’t know what made me do that turn and back-flick which sent the defender the wrong way, a bit of skill I really enjoyed.

“The angle of the ball, the way it rolled and the speed of the ball, made it sit up so perfectly it convinced me in that split-second I could go for the chip.

“Steve Sherwood was the keeper and he was by far the biggest keeper those days at around 6ft 5in, a massive figure, although these days that seems to be the norm. Back then, he was a giant.”

Remarkably, Hoddle had not even been sure of his place in the team at the time.

Spurs, who started the day down in 18th, just two points above the relegation zone after six games, were trailing 1-0 before his moment of inspiration.

Former Chelsea maestro Hoddle then majestically chipped Watford goalkeeper Steve Sherwood with his second touch
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His celebration was uncharacteristically animated, the midfielder sliding on his knees in front of fans, shouting and waving his arms.

The goal inspired his team-mates and they went on to win thanks to goals from Steve Archibald and Chris Hughton.

Hoddle said: “That goal has given a lot of pleasure, not only for me, my family and friends but also many Spurs fans.

“It came at a point in my Spurs career when I suffered a dip in form and had even been left out of the team.

“I knew I had done something special. You just get that feeling. Usually I celebrated a goal by jumping in the air and punching the air across my body.

“This time I slid on my knees and I had never done that before. The reaction was one of release as well as it came at a time when I had been suffering a bad time and that goal changed my season.”

While the goal was 35 years ago, Hoddle is celebrating an incredible milestone — FIFTY years since he first turned up at the club he supported as a boy.

Hoddle claims the goal against Watford ranks as one of the best in his career
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Hoddle, 60, added: “You couldn’t sign schoolboy forms until you were 15 and I was around 11½ when I first went to White Hart Lane to train.

“I trained every Tuesday and Thursday evenings with the 14- and 15-year-olds, which was the only age group open to me at my age and travelled from our family home in Harlow on the train.

“My dad would pick me up from the station at 10pm. That happened for four years.

“Now, 50 years later, it’s weird to think it happened so long ago. It almost feels as if it all happened to someone else, so much has happened in my football life.

“I look back at pictures of me as a 17-year-old when I made my debut and think ‘Was that really me?’.

“In sport, or music, or entertainment, there’s always that record of you through the ages and sometimes it’s hard to believe that was really you there.

“It is all very surreal. But it was me and it was the most enjoyable time of my life.”